May 25, 2005

The Woodpecker Must Die!

(No posting Friday or Monday, Dear Readers, due to the holiday and an extra vacation day I slapped on for good measure.)

woodpecker.gifA few weeks ago, it finally became warm enough to open both the back door and front door and air out my house, blowing away the winter dust and must. I opened the doors, settled down to enjoy the wafting of the fresh air and indulge in some focused Dulaan knitting...and the knocking started. And went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Come to find out my yard had become the domain of a male downy woodpecker who had had just a leetle too much Viagra and, apparently, according to the downy woodpecker rules of courtship, the harder and more loudly you can beat your head against a tree trunk, the sexier you are. (Not really all that different from human courtship rituals, is it? Think macho man, empty beer can, forehead.)

Now, those of you who know me know I am nothing if not a bird lover. I have the books, the two pairs of binoculars, and the life list to prove it—but the loud, incessant tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat was just too much, even for me. All I know is that my stitches were getting tighter and tighter and tighter. Something Had To Be Done.

I went out to the dead tree snag where I thought he would be and, sure enough, there he was in all of his black, white and red cuteness, taking full advantage of a small section of bark and the hollow spot underneath it. My first mistake? Trying to use small pebbles to scare him away. My second? Throwing the large handful of pebbles straight up in the air. Before I had time to duck, every single pebble hit me on the head. Then I tried with something that was technically “softer,” a small dead and rotten stick. My head and the now two pieces of stick are are here to tell you that rotten sticks are not softer, “technically” be damned. It did make Romeo move, though. He raced up the tree trunk, peered coldly at me while I massaged my head, and then worked his way slowly and deliberately back down the trunk, tapping and listening, tapping and listening, until he had found an even louder spot than before. Tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat. Urk.

Long story short, I finally found the right stick, convinced myself for one brief moment not to throw like a girl, was able to smack the tree trunk a few feet below him, and off he went.

The Good News: Despite my efforts and the dents in my skull, I am now the proud “mama” to, from what I can tell, two, maybe three, nestling woodpeckers. The Bad News: They have brought with them their own brand of incessant noise, a small and constant twittering like the sound of a loose fan belt on a tiny car like, say, the car circus clowns ride around in. But I lerv them. And secretly I’m glad I didn’t scare Romeo away permanently since I’ve spent many happy moments watching Romeo and Mrs. Romeo come and go, bringing squashed and mangled bugs to the rapidly growing fan belts.


Although I swore on a tall stack of bibles that I would never knit a pixie hat (because, well, just look at this poor child), last weekend one snuck up on me. I was using a pattern I had never used before and thought it had a flat top but nuh-uh. This was what I ended up with:

condomhat.jpg

For another reason why I've avoided knitting pixie hats, hover your mouse over the photo to see what TMK named it.

I rest my case.

On a happier note, I’ve finally found a way to take a photograph of a hat "on" Frankie. And that awkward and painful-looking position she's in? One of her favorite ways to sleep.

conqueringbear2.jpg


Reminder that the Garden Party is a week from Saturday, 6/4, 1-6, at TMK’s house. If you want to join us, please email me at rymorriss@yahoo.com. We now have about 10.5 people signed up, the .5 being the two or three who can only come for an hour but we're glad they're squeezing us in!

Posted by Ryan at 11:10 AM | Comments (17)

May 23, 2005

Of Camels and Sun and Rain and Vests

Let's start today’s entry with a little article that made me bray out loud; bray, I tell you!

What’s intriguing about this story is what it doesn’t say. Who owns the wayward camel? Why did it sit on the lady? Who knew camels could sit in the first place? And the most intriguing question of all, how was she unaware of the fact that a 1,500 pound camel was commencing the sitting process? I find it hard to believe the camel simply zipped over in a Superman-like blur and badda-bing, badda-boom. Besides, if a camel merely came and stood by me, no sitting involved, I would know something was very, very wrong with my usually camel-free world long before the camel knees started bending and the camel derriere started looming.


The weather this weekend couldn’t have been any more unpredictable. Sunny and warm one minute; gray, cold, blustery and rainy the next. Although I don’t know why I should be all that surprised in a city where the mere act of changing lanes can find you in a completely different weather pattern. Seriously. One lane—wet; the other lane—dry; I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. The vagaries of the weather did at one point send The Mysterious K, ever the gardener, into a manic state of complete and utter denial. She bolted outside during one of the brief windows of sunshine to weed and, three minutes later, I found her hunched over a flower bed, muttering, “Rain? What rain?,” as her tank top got wetter and wetter and wetter. She has a sickness, what can I say. We're planning an intervention.

Fortunately, we were well-prepared for the bad weather, what with two rented DVDs (“Elektra”—feh, and a shrug of the shoulders. And “Flight of the Phoenix”—mo’ bettah.) and a new video game (The Omega Stone—so far, harder than it should be in an annoying way. I mean, how are white-bread, suburbanite, non-terrorist types supposed to know that a white rectangular block with a microchip in it is an explosive? Guess what happened when we pushed a red button while standing right next to the white rectangular block with the microchip in it? Yep, human confetti.)

And, of course, there was der knitting. This weekend I finished a vest that I designed on the fly, although it was based partly on this pattern. My weapons of choice: “Cabin Fever” Wool Pak I had picked up at the Guild Fiber Frenzy and size 6 needles.

Here it is in all of its stockinette and seed-stitch glory, sans buttons. The armholes curl a little bit so I think I’m going to beg one of der locals to help me crochet on a firmer edge.

WoolPakvest.JPG

And here, for your entertainment, a parade of pictures of Frankie wearing the vest.

Picture 1. I grabbed her from above, slipped one paw through one armhole, and the other through the other. She stood there for a minute, slightly perplexed, and then flopped down on the floor, apparently determined never to move again as long as that abomination was on her body.

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Picture 2. The Mysterious K helped me coax a better pose out of our furry diva.

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Picture 3: This is the moment when I realized she had most likely had enough.

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Posted by Ryan at 11:18 AM | Comments (14)

May 20, 2005

What If?

The High Point of a Vain Girl’s Day: Being asked to be the model for two knitting patterns that will be sold nationally.

The Low Point of a Vain Girl’s Day: Realizing that you are not, in fact, the Cleopatra of the New Millennium but that the items you will be modeling are for larger-sized women and you have actually been asked to be a model because you’re, well, fat.

An Equally Low Point in a Vain Girl’s Day: Realizing the day before the photo shoot that the last haircut your stylist gave you makes you look like a cocker spaniel.

A Vain Girl’s Greatest Fear: Since one of the items you are going to model is a poncho, that you are going to look exactly the way you did the day last summer when you got a poncho stuck on your head:

poncho.JPG


Having nothing much else to write about, I will resort to answering a meme (a fancy word for electronic chain letter, methinks) that I was “tagged” for by Karen. The deal is you are supposed to pick five of the following choices and answer the question, “What would I do if I were…,” (and then pass the meme on, but I’m not gonna):

a scientist?
a farmer?
a musician?
a doctor?
a painter?
a gardener?
a missionary?
a chef?
an architect?
a linguist?
a psychologist?
a librarian?
an athlete?
a lawyer?
an inn-keeper?
a professor?
a writer?
a llama-rider?
a bonnie pirate?
an astronaut?
a world famous blogger?
a justice on any one court in the world?
married to any current famous political figure?

Hokay, here goes:

If I were a scientist?
Easy-peasy! I would be a marine biologist and study coelacanths; whale sharks; any of those freaky, creepy, glowy, alienesque life forms that live in ocean abysses; the megamouth shark; and giant squids (all of which I have been fascinated with since I was a wee nerdlet).

Apparently I would be a bubbleheaded and scatterbrained marine biologist with a complete inability to focus on any one thing and of no use whatsoever to the scientific community, but still. Besides, it doesn’t matter because apparently now I’m going to make my living as a highly paid supermodel and jet off to Paris.

If I were a farmer?
I would own a miniature farm populated with animals like this and this and this and this and this and this and this. (Trivia for the day: Miniature cows are referred to as mini-moos.)

If I were a gardener?
This could actually come to be since I have a large, flat, very-gardenable yard, but, alas, I suck at tending all things grassy, shrubby and flowery. However, in this fantasy world where I have a green thumb and unlimited amounts of energy (and am a supermodel), it would be all dahlias, all the time. If you want to see me go instantly weak at the knees, get me near a shrub covered in brightly-colored, dinner-plate-size dahlias, like, oh, say this.

If I were a writer?
I’d want to write science fiction short stories. Wrote one once about a society where, when born, everyone is partnered with another child chosen arbitrarily for you by a government entity and from that point forward, for the rest of your lives, you are responsible for each other’s moral behavior. If one person commits a crime, the other one is punished. But, hey, maybe it’s better if I stay away from this twisted and dark side of my creative self.

If I were married to any current famous political figure?
I’d shoot myself.


On the Dulaan front, F.I.R.E. reports that the current number is:

confetti2.gif

1344 ITEMS!!!

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656 items to go, and--wince!--only a month or so remaining before you should seriously start thinking about getting items shipped to Arizona for the July 1 deadline. Oil up those knitting needles, girls and guys!

Meredith reports that she is starting to receive shipments from England, Australia and Canada. Very cool!

Posted by Ryan at 01:21 PM | Comments (17)

May 17, 2005

Children Helping Children

(Wednesday Update: Since my posting schedule for this week started out wonky, I'm keepin' it wonky. So, most likely no posting until Friday, unless, of course, some deliciously tittilating gossip comes my way, in which case I'm all over it.)

Sorry about yesterday's absence. My usually smooth ride on the blog train developed a little hitch in its gitalong.


I am so happy to be able to share this with you, the most remarkable email I've received during the course of the Dulaan project:

"I'm over the moon about the Dulaan Project and have a big box-o-stuff to send. I'm a pediatric occupational therapist and I've had virtually every child I work with help making fleece blankets. It's been awesome for blind kids, kids with cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, psychiatric conditions, Fragile X, autism, you name it, to be able to help. I even have a child who was born with only a brain stem get involved. It's been fantastic for the moms to see their kids on the giving end of things for once. Very empowering! I have some very touching pictures if you're interested.”

I read this message in its entirety umpteen times because I had trouble wrapping my head around the magnificence of the idea of mentally, physically and learning-challenged American children happily making fleece blankets for Mongolian children. Needless to say, I took Marylee, the author of the email, up on her offer to post some photographs of the children or, as she refers to them, her “sweet peas." (Note: If you're anything like me, you'll have to ignore the urge to haul out the fire extinguisher. If that fleece doesn't keep the Mongolians warm, I don't know what will.)

Photograph 1: Per Marylee, “First we have Addy. She wanted to know if the kids in the flyer ever have lemonade parties.” (Side note from your blogmistress: "Lemonade parties?" Doesn’t that just kill you?)

Addy.jpg

Photograph 2: “The 3 Amigos.”

ThreeAmigos.jpg

Photograph 3: “This is Jacob. When he says "Mongolia," he puts the accent on the third syllable and it sounds downright Italian! He now asks every week about 'the babies.' " (Side note from your blogmistress: Now Jacob has me saying “MongoLEEa,” too. It’s a hard habit to break once you start, although "Mongo-frickin'-LEE-a" can be a real tongue twister.)

Jacob.jpg

Photograph 4: "In the power chair is Colten. He has cerebral palsy and uses an electronic communication device with an infrared sticker dot on his forehead. He is brilliant and I love him."

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Photograph 5: "This is Andy. He has a seizure disorder and attention/frustration tolerance of about 20 seconds. I bet he could have made 10 blankets all by himself!”

Andy.jpg

Photograph 6: “Can you even believe all the cuteness packed into Brandon (with the tinted glasses)? He has a rare disorder called Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome. He is non-verbal, but clearly wayyyyy expressive!”

Brandon.jpg

Photograph 7: “Finally, my mom, Rosie. She's 87. Now tell me I don't have a million-dollar gene pool! Never too old, never too young, never too slow, never too busy.”

MaryLee_Mother.jpg

Lastly, Marylee says, “Everyone can help. And if this is not joyful proof that Cuzzin Tom has it precisely right about the fullness bestowed upon the giver...I mean...look at their faces!”

Thank you, Marylee, for your emails and the photographs. And thank you, children and Marylee's Mother, for your work on the blankets!! I am sure F.I.R.E. will be thrilled to receive your box of cozy blankets.


More good news! For those of you who thought that Cuzzin Tom lit the Dulaan bonfire under us and then scarpered off to MongoLEEa, abandoning us and the project, nuh-uh. Until yesterday, there was some particularly potent spam protection applied to the blog which did its job so well that it prevented even legit readers from posting and, in particular, one legit reader from MongoLEEa. However, the spam protection has now been toned down a bit, and Cuzzin Tom is able to post, so I hope we hear from him more often, although I hear the Internet connection from the middle of the Gobi Desert is a little iffy.


Two more folks have signed up for the Dulaan Garden Party, Feralites Andrea and Karen. Looking forward to seeing you there! Now, everyone, get down on your knobbly knees and pray for good weather! Sunny and 70 will do just fine, thanks.

(Note to The Mysterious K: Rebecca has threatened us with bodily harm if we don't serve one of our infamous tofu chocolate pies. Well, it may not be Rebecca herself who rains the deadly blows upon us, since she's such a girly-girl, but she says she knows some people who know some people. Are you scared? Nuh-uh, me neither.)


Posted by Ryan at 09:38 AM | Comments (27)

May 13, 2005

Ryan Takes on the Seattle Metro Bus System

Belated Monday Afternoon Note: Had a little hiccup on the blog system side today, so no posting. Will post tomorrow, Dear Readers.

---------------------------------

bus.gifI am a great believer in buses as an ideal form of mass transportation. In Seattle, at least, they are clean, efficient, convenient, and almost always on time; they get a lot of cars off the road, the remaining traffic is someone else’s problem, and, on rainy days, especially if you’ve got your knitting with you, they can be borderline cozy. Or, at least, those were my rose-colored memories of the hundreds of bus rides I took before I changed jobs and started driving to work...Before Monday’s bus ride to the conference when the bus driver—not a passenger, the driver—argued loudly, viciously, and incessantly with himself for the duration of the 45-minute drive...Before Tuesday’s bus ride when a passenger got on wearing a shiny yellow-gold helmet for no reason and billowing, flapping, brightly colored patchwork pants, one leg of which was cut off above the knee, again, for no reason...Before Wednesday’s bus ride when, at the station, I had to navigate my way around a man who barked. Like a real dog. And a lot.

And now those rose-colored memories have officially vanished, to be replaced by the more-accurate memories of the year I commuted on a bus that stopped by the courthouse, a juvenile detention facility, the city jail, and a men’s homeless shelter. I now remember in excruciating detail how every ride was an olfactory, visual, and sociological...er..."adventure."

But the conference and the otherworldly bus rides are over; back to my car, my commute, and my quiet, safe office with its lack of gold helmets, barking men and mentally unstable bus drivers. The technical communications conference consisted of hundreds of mini 1- to 1.5-hour seminars that one could select from and attend. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that the most interesting was the seminar conducted by a profoundly deaf and blind woman who is a senior technical writer at an aerospace company in Colorado. She demonstrated how current technology allows her to read printed documents, read the information displayed on her computer monitor, edit online documents, and use her phone—all without being able to hear or see. Fascinating; impressive; humbling. (Trivia of the Day: Did you know that Ball Aerospace is the same company that makes the Ball canning jars?! It’s not so weird when you realize that it all has to do with air and pressure and rigidity and tensile strength, but still, I was gobsmacked.)


On to my latest knitting adventures!

Last summer, at my first knitting garden party, Dear Reader and neighbor Melinda contributed some mystery yarn to my natural dyeing efforts. The yarn never got used for its original intended purpose but a couple of weeks ago, inspired by the Kool-Aid dyed mittens and socks contributed to Dulaan by June, I Kool-Aid tie-dyed the mystery yarn. I used whatever Kool-Aid I had handy which turned out to be five packets of Black Cherry and two packets of regular cherry which, together, made a satisfyingly dark, reddish-black, evil-looking concoction.

Here is the finished skein, looking very much as if a large animal had bled to death, albeit meticulously and calculatedly, from one end of the skein to the other. I was not impressed; in fact I could barely touch it, it looked so awful.

koolaidyarn.jpg

Thing started to look up when I wound the skein into a ball and the colors redistributed themselves...

koolaidball.JPG

...and got even better when I knitted a swatch...

koolaidswatch.jpg

...and even better when I made these Dulaan socks. How slick is that candy-cane-like swirl?

koolaidsocks.jpg


The Dulaan Garden Party:

So far, I have the following attendees:

Perclexed
MaryB
Kim
June
Rose
Rebecca
Patti
Martha (who is driving all the way from Spokane!)
Maybe Diana for the last hour
Maybe Kit

If you want to attend, just email me. If you've emailed me but your name isn't on the list, lemme know. And if you’ve already RSVP’d but haven’t received address or direction info from me, again, lemme know.


I hope everyone will be able to drop by for a read on Monday, when I will have a most amazing and moving story and some equally amazing and moving photographs to share with you, thanks to Dear Reader and Brigade Member Marylee.

Posted by Ryan at 01:18 PM | Comments (17)

May 06, 2005

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

No posting Monday or Wednesday, Dear Readers. Off to a 3-day technical writing conference with hundreds of other technobabble geeks just like me. Should feel like Guild...only without the yarn. Or the needles. Or the conversation. Or the camaraderie. Or the sharing. Or the gentle chatter. Or the giggles. Or the knitting-book library. But other than that, it should be just like.

However, to compensate:

Announcing...

The Push-to-the-End, Dulaan or Bust, Seattle Garden Party! Come knit, eat, drink, chat, share, meet the famous TMK, meet the even more famous Frankie, listen to a recording of the NPR interview starring Meredith and Cuzzin Tom, and see a slideshow containing yet even more depressing pictures of homeless children!
Woo-hoo!

What: A casual, open house, garden party-type gathering of Dulaan knitters.

Date: Saturday, June 4, 2005. Pray for good weather.

Time: 1pm-6pm. Again, this party will be held open-house style, so feel free to come and go as your schedule allows.

Where: At The Mysterious K’s house in North-Almost-Shoreline Seattle.

knitsheep2.gifHow Many: However many people can fit in TMK’s large yard. We figure we’ll cram the overflow into her woodworking shop and the collapsing greenhouse.

What To Bring: Despite the fact that we have learned over time and to our utter astonishment that knitters, while knitting, don’t eat much, the party will be a "snack luck" so bring snack food to share (we will provide beverages (lemonade, iced tea, regular and diet sodas, sparkling water, paper plates, and utensils), folding outdoor chairs, and of course, your Dulaan projects. (Diana, if you come, TMK begs you to pleeezepleeezepleeeze bring some of those egg ‘n’ cheese muffins thingies you brought for the first Knit-In. Pleeeeeze? Of course, I say just bring the recipe and make her make her own damn egg ‘n’ cheese muffin thingies, but whatever.)

How to RSVP: Contact me at rymorriss@yahoo.com (note the two "r's" and two "s's"). I will email you with all the particulars. And perhaps this time I’ll get the directions right.

Okay, who's going to be there?


Posted by Ryan at 10:36 AM | Comments (9)

May 04, 2005

Happy International Respect for Chickens Day!

Before I launch into today's posting, I thought you would all like to know that today is International Respect for Chickens Day. I kid you not.


Okay, it’s safe to stash the Kleenex, Dear Readers. I pinky swear I won’t inflict any more pictures from F.I.R.E. on you—but only because I don’t have any more. If Meredith sends me more, all bets are off, because nothing makes my day more than turning my Dear Readers into sobbing, emotional wrecks. Woo-hoo! (By the way, to give credit where credit is due, I should mention that the pictures were all taken by Ms. Meredith herself. Very impressive, no?)

Now that I’ve gotten you all lathered up, can I just rest lazily on my P.R. laurels, eat bon bons, roll around in the piles and piles of money I made from my scam, and let the rest of you churn away on the Dulaan knitting? I can't?!!! Oh, good, because I've been a busy little bee. Here’s a picture of the finished multi-colored hat looking strangely severe and tube-like on a coffee bean canister shanghaied from The Mysterious K’s pantry.

parfaithat.jpg

Although I like the pattern, especially since it is a marvy stash buster, two peeves: First, when the hat is not stretched to within an inch of its life on a phallically shaped canister, the garter stitch edge flips up and obscures the entire first band of the pattern. Pooh. The hat hasn’t been blocked yet, so there's a modicum of hope. Secondly, PBA! PBA! PBA! (Translation: Pattern Boo-boo Alert!) On the chart for the decreases at the top of hat, you need to add a blank square to the left of every other row in the chart, starting with the second row and stopping where you decrease every row. (Side note, if you want to get Feralite June tittering like a 12-year-old boy, just say “errata,", and off she goes. It’s “errata,” June, not “erotica.” Major difference.)

Here is a picture of the top of the hat, which I just love, especially the surprising red border around the outside. (To June the Silly and Giggly Yet Wise: Once we added the squares to the chart, I just used the pattern as-is, and it worked out fine. Thanks for your help!)

coloredhattop.jpg

And, here, my pride and joy, the Norwegian Star Cap, again, from Hats On. As has been my wont recently, it is knit in Cascade 220, in white and a wonderful light but saturated purple.

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Here, the top of the hat. Curiously, this also requires a PBA. When you are decreasing for the top for the small size of the hat, on the chart, you have to start two rows up from where it says to start. Can't speak for the medium and large sizes.

purplehattop.jpg

And, here, what the hat would look like on a Mongolian child, if he were 11” tall, round and pudgy, covered from head-to-toe in sandy-colored fur, had no neck, had permanently upraised arms, two round ears sewed to the top of his head, and a nose that was three-quarters rubbed off (which TMK insists is caused by the fact that, every time I see the bear, I'm compelled to poke its nose back into its head until it goes humorously and satisfyingly concave. Oh, and to be perfectly clear, because it needs to be said, the bear is hers, not mine. Butch, my ass.)

By the way, note the picot edge, my first ever. And also a first, knitting the live stitches of the hem together with the live stitches from the body of the hat.

hatbear.jpg

And, finally, for no reason other than that we had so much fun with the Brie poll, another one:

Posted by Ryan at 09:43 AM | Comments (22)

May 02, 2005

White Tara at Work!

(Picture-heavy again; may be slow to load.)

Today I bring you the last of the F.I.R.E. pictures which, paradoxically, are both easier and harder to look at. When I first saw the pictures from last Wednesday and Friday of the children and the destitute families, like many of you, I was disturbed to my very core and motivated to knitknitknit! (or get some more fleece and blanketblanketblanket!) but there were no tears, just some deep sighs and a greater understanding of the seriousness of the situation in Mongolia. But when I looked at this last set of pictures—the ones of humanitarianism and compassion in action, of F.I.R.E. doing what it does best, organizing and distributing the clothing and supplies—I broke down. Which was a wee bit of a problem since I was at work. In my office. Ten feet away from the office of one employee, and fifteen feet away from the office of the other. And all the doors were wide open. And what started as a slight misting of the eyes quickly threatened to turn into A Big Cry, you know, the kind that starts with a burning in your eyes, and then makes your mouth go all twisted, and then goes down to your throat and your lungs and your heart and your stomach and your spine and you know you are just going to Completely Dissolve from head to toe, and make loud, primitive howling noises. Thank Gawd I managed to rein myself in because the whole thing would have been so messy and so very hard to explain. That, and I didn’t have any Kleenex. And wiping my nose on a page of my word-of-the-day calendar sounded painful.

As you look at these pictures, Dear, Dear Readers, just imagine!—when F.I.R.E. goes to Mongolia this October, and when they go through this heartrending process all over again, this time they will be handing out the things you have knit, your mittens, your hats, your scarves, your sweaters! As Rachael would say, “Woot!”

Picture 1: Per Meredith, "This is a packing party in Flagstaff. We get volunteers from the community who help us sort and pack our clothing. We sort out anything that is not warm and fill our boxes with the same items for the same size, so we end up with an "adult, male, pants" box or a "child, sweaters" box. The boxes are labeled, weighed and recorded. We then fill a 40-foot container with 1200 boxes, or 8 tons worth of clothing."

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Picture 2: Again, per Meredith, "In Mongolia, our boxes are sorted into a warehouse where we can easily grab what we will need for each day's distribution."

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Picture 3: F.I.R.E goes directly to established, residential care centers to hand deliver each piece of clothing. This is a woman's prison.

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Picture 4: F.I.R.E operates out of the back of a Russian van. Meredith says, "You never know who will come out to help," but I can't quite tell if she's referring to the man or the cow!

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Picture 5: "Come rain or snow or -10 degree weather, we never stop our distribution until the clothes are gone."

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Pictures 6 and 7: Recipients of clothing.

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Pictures 8-10: Recipients of fleece blankets. Meredith says, of the girl in the first picture, "This is a no-sew fleece blanket made by youth from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This girl was so excited she danced around in circles for five minutes. As we drove off, we could see her showing off her blanket to everyone around her."

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Picture 11: I left my favorite picture for last. Meredith says, "We literally hand deliver each and every piece of clothing donated to us. It will be such a joy to see the reaction everyone has to the hand knitted items."

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Off to procure a box of Kleenex, just in case.

Posted by Ryan at 11:13 AM | Comments (11)